Budgets are key documents since they lay out a government’s priorities in terms of policies and programs. Opening up budgets and democratizing the budget process gives citizens a say in policy formulation and resource allocation. Budget transparency refers to the extent and ease with which citizens can access information about and provide feedback on government revenues, allocations, and expenditures.
Increased transparency in budgeting made significant advances in the late 1980s and early 1990s. This was a period associated with unfavourable budget conditions in most countries – high annual deficits and increasing levels of debt. Governments needed to institute large fiscal consolidation programmes. These were often painful and getting the public’s understanding of the problems was necessary. The most effective manner for achieving that was simply to throw open the books to the public and explaining the problem to them in order for an understanding to emerge as to the best course of action to take. This time period also coincided with increased attention being paid to good governance in general which demanded openness about policy intentions, formulation and implementation – answer to all these was Budget Transparency.
Importance Of Budget Transparency
Less Corruption: First, budget transparency and oversight over how resources are allocated and spent are powerful disincentives for officials to misuse or misappropriate funds since their actions are more likely to be scrutinized. This leads to less corruption.
Efficient Use Of Resource: Budget transparency allows citizens to provide feedback on the quality and adequacy of services and infrastructure provided. This feedback, combined with reduced corruption, results in more efficient use of resources.
Enhanced Trust: In many cases, perceptions of high levels of corruption, poor services and infrastructure, and opaqueness of operations lie at the heart of citizens’ distrust of their governments. The gesture of opening up government books of account is likely to lead to more trust in government.
Higher Revenues: Budget transparency is also instrumental in generating higher revenues for governments since citizens are more likely to pay taxes and contribute donations to local schools and health centres if they trust that their money will be well spent. In developing countries, where revenues are often inadequate to pay for needed investments in sustainable poverty reduction and development programs, this is of utmost importance.
Ways Through Which Budget Transparency Can Be Promoted
Release Of Budget Data: The systematic and timely release of all relevant fiscal information is what we typically associate with budget transparency. It is an absolute pre-requisite. Disclose budget documents and simplified budget information through electronic and print media as well as online portals and cell phones.
Effective Role For The Legislature: It must be able to scrutinise the budget reports and independently review them. It must be able to debate and influence budget policy and be in a position to effectively hold the government to account. This is both in terms of the constitutional role of the legislature and the level of resources that the legislature has at its disposal.
Effective Role For Civil Society Through Media And NGOs: Citizens, directly or through these vehicles, must be in a position to influence budget policy and must be in a position to hold the government to account. In many ways, it is a similar role to that of the legislature albeit only indirectly.
Improving Budget Literacy of parliamentarians, government officials, elected representatives, journalists, and select civil society representatives and Increasing their capacity to analyze budgets.
Create budget literacy manuals for capacity-building programs.
Thus, budget transparency, while not a goal in itself, is a prerequisite for public participation and accountability. Such information must be disseminated in a timely manner so that citizens can effectively provide feedback that can influence policy formulation and resource reallocation.
Indian freedom struggle was not only a political agitation for freedom but also an inclusive movement that included various sections of the society. The process of inclusion only intensified with the multidimensional role of women with renewed vigour after the arrival of Mahatma Gandhi.
Role of Women in Indian Freedom Struggle –
Earliest examples – Right from the revolt of 1857 there was the participation of women in the Indian freedom struggle. Leaders like Rani Laxmi Bai and Begum Hazrat Mahal played an active role to oppose British rule in their area.
Inspirational courage and valour –Likes of Bhikaji Cama who unfurled the Indian flag at Stuttgart and Communist leaders like Bina Das and ChattriSangh who tried an assassination attempt on Governor of Bengal were an inspiration for all Indians.
Reformist and constructivist role – As women’s education spread, there was a small yet active women’s movement working inside the national movement. Congress leaders like Sarojini Naidu and Annie Besant gave them the leadership. Participation of women deepened the meaning of freedom by demanding political rights for women, which were majorly neglected. Various women organizations like Madras Women Indian Association and All India Women’s Conference in 1927 raised voice for voting rights.
Influence of Mahatma Gandhi on Women’s Participation – Gandhiji worked upon at the levels of ideas, techniques as well as programmes.
The idea of sisterhood – He described women as the embodiment of sacrifice, humility and knowledge. (Young India 1921). He made the gender issue neutral by emphasizing role models like Sita and Draupadi (who were portrayed as role models of empowered women, albeit in the cloak of traditionalism). He thus emphasised on sisterhood ideal and made the political role of women more acceptable to male counterparts as well as themselves.
Erasing public vs private spheres – He provided prabhatpheris, picketing liquor shops, prohibition, flag satyagrahas as well as constructive works like charkha spinning, which facilitated the participation of women. He also took the freedom struggle to the daily activities and impressed upon the people to carry the spirit of nationalism in their routines – thus inspiring them. All these ensured that women could participate from wherever they were in whatever capacity they could.
Programmes and methods – Gandhiji emphasized upon values of non-violence and satyagraha. Adherence to non-violence led to an increase in participation of women, which was visible during the Civil Disobedience Movement (From 1930 to 1934). As even men who were reluctant to allow women to participate owing to violence now readily promoted their participation. Gandhiji made women realize their potential of strength and sacrifice, which made women most trusted satyagrahis. It was Sarojini Naidu who took up leadership role during salt satyagraha after the arrest of Gandhi. (Dharasana Satyagraha)
Gandhiji’s mass based struggle drew many women towards Indian freedom struggle changed in the nature of participation from supportive to equal participation. Thus participation of women made Indian Freedom Struggle a true mass-based struggle which not only led to political independence but a great stride towards the emancipation of women and other weaker sections of society.
The nature of the amending process envisaged by the makers of our Constitution has been explained by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru as reconciliation of a written Constitution with Parliamentary Sovereignty. Article 368 (Part XX) of the Constitution deals with the power of Parliament to amend the constitution and its procedures.
The Constitution provides a mix of flexible and rigid provision for amendment as noted bellow:
Amendment of certain provisions of the constitution requires amendment by a simple majority of each house present and voting. Such changes are not deemed to be amendments for purposes of Article 368. For ex.- formation of new states, citizenship provisions, changes in 5th or 6th Schedule
Whereas, special majority is required under Article 368(2). Here, Parliament can amend by 2/3 of the member’s present plus voting and majority of the numerical strength of the house. For ex- amending fundamental Rights.
Certain features relating to the federation requires ratification by half of the states besides requiring special majority. For ex.- election of President; representation of states in Parliament
Thus, as discussed above the amending process prescribed by the Constitution has certain distinctive features as compared to other Constitutions of the world i.e. having a dual attribute of rigidity and flexibility.
However, some critics have described the amendment procedure to be too flexible in view of the ease with which more than 100 amendments have been passed in last 60 years of the working of the Constitution. Therefore, the use of the amendment procedure should be as a measure of last resort. Moreover, while passing the amendment the Parliament must preserve the basic framework (basic structure) of the Constitution.
The term ‘governance’, ‘good governance’ and ‘ethical governance’ appears to be used interchangeably and are intrinsically interlinked. Yet, each of them signify different meaning in their own sense. The same are discussed below with help of examples.
The term ‘governance’ is defined as follows:
It is the exercise of economic, political and administrative authority to manage a country’s affairs.
It is also the process through which various stakeholders articulate their interest, exercises their rights and mediate their differences.
Many times it is defined as interface between the government and those governed. For ex.- delivery of public services like food, education, health.
In this context, 2nd ARC suggested various measures to improve governance, therefore the word ‘good governance’ implies:
Responsive, accountable, sustainable and efficient administration at all levels.
Further, transparency, accountability, rule of law, principle of subsidiarity and citizen first form basics of good governance. For ex.- delivery of services like PDS shall be quick, devoid of middlemen, reach even the most marginalised at minimum cost.
Whereas, the concept of ‘ethical governance’ is value laden, it means:
Administrative procedures and policies shall fulfil criteria of ethical handling of public affairs.
Utilitarian approach (Bentham’s approach) is followed to serve maximum good and difference between ethical-legal is handled appropriately.
Hence, governance shall be good as well as ethical.
Peasant movement in India arose due to Britishers economic policies that resulted in the change of ownership of agrarian land, massive debt burden and impoverishment of peasantry.
Thus, the peasants rose in revolt against this injustice on many occasions. Some of these are as follows:
Indigo revolt of 1859-1860 was result of European planters persuading the peasants to plant indigo. Further, they provided loans at a very high interest. This led to not only debt burden but also severe exploitation.
Similarly, in Pabna movementSome landlords forcefully collected rents and land taxes that triggered the rebellion.
Deccan Riots (1875) peasants of Maharashtra revolted against increasing agrarian distress.
Further, in Champaran Satyagraha (1917), European planters resorted to all sorts of illegal and inhuman methods of indigo cultivation. That led Gandhiji took up their cause.
Other significant movements were Moplah Rebellion, Kheda Peasant Struggle, Bardoli Movement (Gujarat), Tebhaga Movement in Bengal
Considering the collective effort to fight the oppressive system, some of the noteworthy impact of the peasant movement were as follows:
The movement helped creating awareness among the Indians about exploitative nature of British rule.
It also helped developing a strong awareness among peasants about their legal rights.
These localised revolts also prepared the ground for various other uprisings such as Sikh Wars in Punjab, Revolt of 1857
These movement had given much strength to the peasants who participated in the movement. Moreover, the movement also contributed to the growth of nationalism.
The positive impact was also seen in form of various steps taken by the government following peasant movements. For ex- appointment of indigo, passing of Deccan Agriculturists Relief Act, 1879
In light of spectrum of above-mentioned arguments, it can be said that these movements created an atmosphere for post-independence agrarian reforms, for instance, abolition of Zamindari etc. and also added to the transformation of the agrarian structure. Click to View More
Reason for averseness to the use of nuclear energy
Positive things in relation to use of nuclear energy
Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam described nuclear power as a gateway to a prosperous future. However, World Nuclear Association has reported that nuclear electricity generation in 2017 was at its lowest level since 1999. Even, Germany has decided to close all its nuclear plant by 2022.
The reason for risk aversion to the nuclear energy are as follows:
The cost of construction of nuclear plants is too expensive. Thus, making the production of energy unviable.
Nuclear reactors are an unsafe proposition as seen from Chernobyl and Fukushima The cost of clean of Fukushima was estimated to be around $200 billion.
Further, there are inherent issues relating to the disposal of the nuclear waste.
The nuclear energy is also facing uphill task considering the reduced cost of production of renewable energy like solar and wind energy.
The issue has further been compounded by the confusion over the provisions of Civil liability for Nuclear damage Act, 2010.
Lastly, the issue of non membership of NSG, problem of land acquisition, regulatory hurdles are also major irritant in the widespread adoption of nuclear energy.
However, there are important benefits in relation to nuclear energy, such as:
Nuclear energy has the potential to resolve the issue of India’s continuous energy poverty. About 9 crore household have no access to electricity.
The nuclear energy can also help India in meeting the INDC target under Paris Climate treaty.
Besides, nuclear power can also reduce the impact of loss of foreign exchange, volatile fossil fuel prices and consequent impact on economic growth.
Further, many technologies of strategic importance have been mastered by India in its quest for use of nuclear energy.
Lastly, India has largest reserve of Thorium in the world thereby resolving the issue of import dependence of nuclear fuel.
Thus, in light of the above analysis it can be concluded that nuclear energy has a promising benefits for India and world. However, the inherent issues relating to it must be addressed holistically.
The government has set a target of doubling farmers’ income by 2022 to overcome the distressed situation of agriculture. The situation was evident after large scale farmer’s protest in various parts of India.
The reorientation of strategy was needed due to following reasons:
Earlier strategy focused primarily on raising agricultural output ignoring need for income augmentation.
Farmer’s income remained low as compared to those working in the non- farm sector.
The need was further felt considering the large scale farmers suicides after introduction of duty free agri trade.
Government has adopted following strategy to help farmer’s cause:
To raise output and reduce cost of cultivation schemes such as Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana, Prampragat Krishi Vikas Yojana have been started.
For protection against crop loss, Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana has been implemented nationwide. .
Further, to address price volatility of perishable commodities Operation Greenhas been started.
To reform agricultural marketing and processing sector, PM Kisan Sampada Yojana, E-NAM portal has been started.
Lastly, to have sustainable development of agriculture and promote farmers income National Mission on Sustainable Agriculturehas been started.
Suggestions to effectively achieve the target of doubling farmer’s income:
The focus must be on increasing the use of quality seed, fertiliser and power supply to agriculture.
The focus must also be on allied sector, wherein aim must be to improve herd quality, increasing artificial insemination
Further, as per experts about one third income of farmer’s can be augmented through better price realization, efficient post-harvest management, competitive value chains
Similarly, Farmers producer organization or Farmers Producer Company can also play big role. .
There is also a need for mobilising States to own and achieve the goal of doubling farmers’ income.
Further, the reformative steps in agriculture must not be baby steps or incremental changes rather structural reforms are needed.
Briefly write about Right to Education (RTE) Act 2009 and its current status.
Discuss the challenges faced at primary level of Education in India.
Discuss the major reforms suggested at primary level in the recent draft education policy 2019.
With 86th amendment, education was made fundamental rights of the citizen under Article 21(a). Right to education act 2009 was brought in to give effect to Article 21(a). The country has moved forward in bringing every children to the school. But there still remains challenge of huge dropouts and poor learning outcomes.
Various challenges that primary level of education in the country faces are:
Poor teaching quality: Teachers are not given proper training. They are engaged in administrative works like implementing Midday meal schemes.
Poor school infrastructure: Schools lack basic facilities like toilets and drinking water. Lack of toilet facility results in huge dropouts among girls.
Poor recruitment process of teachers: Since education is a state subject. Some state recruits teachers on contracts without Bachelor of education qualifications.
Detention policy: Students are being detained above class 5 level. Detention deters children from completing the primary level of education. Hence, increasing dropouts.
Poor pedagogy practices: Child friendly pedagogy is lacking in Indian schools. Curriculum and exam system promotes culture of rote learning and deters creative thinking.
Poor regulatory framework: Regulatory framework differs from state to state. Few states like Bihar lacks proper regulatory framework to monitor the functioning of primary schools.
These challenges have hindered India in achieving its objective of providing free and compulsory education with good learning outcomes. The country is still far from achieving the target of 6% of GDP expenditure as suggested under different national education policy.
The recent draft on national education policy 2019 has suggested following reforms keeping in mind the above challenges:
To discontinue detention policy: The draft focuses on adopting continuous and comprehensive assessment (CCA), no detention policy (NDP) together. CCA and NDP if adopted together can reforms the examination system of the country. It will also promote creative learning and end rote learning system.
School infrastructure: The policy suggested that small size of schools makes it operationally complex to deploy teachers. Hence the policy recommends that multiple public schools should be brought together to form a school complex. The school complexes will also include anganwadis, vocational education facilities, and an adult education centre. Each school complex will be a semi-autonomous unit providing integrated education across all stages from early childhood to secondary education.
Teacher management: Draft Policy recommends that teachers should be deployed with a particular school complex for at least five to seven years. Further, teachers will not be allowed to participate in any non-teaching activities (such as cooking mid-day meals or participating in vaccination campaigns) during school hours that could affect their teaching capacities.
Teacher training: the policy recommended to replace the existing B.Ed. programme by a four year integrated B.Ed. that combines high quality content, pedagogy and practical training.
The above recommendation can bring significant positive changes in learning outcomes of the children. There is need to effectively implement the target of 6 percent of GDP expenditure and to effectively implement the recommendation of draft policy.Click to View More
Flood is a state of higher water level along a river channel or on coast leading to inundation of land that is not normally submerge. In India, 40 million hectares out of a geographical area of 3290 lakh hectares is prone to floods. Moreover, every year, 1600 lives are lost and the damage caused to crops, houses and public utilities is Rs. 1800 crores due to floods.
The main causes for floods are as follows:
The rivers bring heavy sediment load from catchments. These, coupled with inadequate carrying capacity of rivers are responsible for causing floods.
Some of the general causes are drainage congestion, erosion of river-banks, silting in deltaic areas
Moreover, about 75% of the annual rainfall in India is concentrated in 3-4 months of the monsoon season. As a result, there is very heavy discharge from rivers during the period causing widespread floods.
Further, cyclones, cloud bursts, storm surge cause flash floods and lead to huge loss of life and property.
Lastly, in urban areas the urban flooding is caused by increasing incidence of heavy rainfall in a short period of time, indiscriminate encroachment of waterways, inadequate capacity of drains and lack of maintenance of the drainage infrastructure. For ex.- Chennai floods.
Steps to mitigate flood vulnerability are as follows:
There is a need for identification and marking of flood prone areas and preparation of close contour and flood vulnerability maps.
Further, this must be followed by implementation of the schemes for expansion and modernisation of the flood forecasting and warning network, execution of flood protection and drainage improvement schemes
The focus must also be on development of hard management techniques like dams, embankments or artificial levees
Further, flood walls/ River defences/ Coastal defences can be built around settlements to protect them from floods.
Lastly, the focus must also be on afforestation, proper land use management
Thus, the causes of the floods being natural and man made requires, thus to control and mitigate the same requires interdisciplinary approach.
Start introduction mentioning the challenges in public service delivery.
Define Citizen’s Charter stating its importance and it components.
Discuss the limitation in implementation of Citizen’s Charter.
Discuss the measures to ensure its effective implementation.
The public service delivery of India faced a problem of bureaucratic corruption and delays. The government functioned in a very opaque and unaccountable manner. There existed a problem of information asymmetry between the government department and the consumers. There was an absence of grievance redress mechanism with in government framework.
Keeping this in concern, Citizen’s Charters were introduced in India in the 1990s. Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG) defines Citizen’s Charter as a document which represents a systematic effort to focus on the commitment of the Organisation towards its Citizens in respect of Standard of Services, Information, Choice and Consultation, Accessibility and Grievance Redress.
Citizen’s Charter aims at:
Making administration transparent and accountable
Bringing time bound delivery of services
Promoting awareness among the consumers about the quality of service to be delivered.
Promoting citizens friendly administration
To improve the experiences of customers by improving service delivery.
To address the grievances of citizens through Grievance Redress Mechanism.
Citizen’s charter possess following components to achieve its aim. Its six components are:
Vision and Mission Statements
Details of business transacted by the Organisation.
Details of Clients
Details of services provided to each client group.
Details of grievance redress mechanisms and how to access them
Expectations from clients
The Institutionalisation of concept of Citizen’s charter is there in every government department in India since 1997. However, its implementation is still in embryonic stage. Earlier, Introduction and implementation of the concept of Citizens’ Charter in the Government of India was much more complicated due to the old bureaucratic set up/procedures and the rigid attitudes of the workforce.
Various Limitations/ Hurdles encountered in these initiatives are:
Citizen’s charter was viewed as an exercise to be performed by getting direction from top. It lacks participation and consultation process. Hence, it just becomes one of the routine activities of the organisation and had no focus.
The concerned staff are not sufficiently trained and sensitised. The commitments of the Charter cannot be expected to be delivered by a workforce that is unaware ofthe spirit and content of the Charter.
Sometimes, transfers and reshuffles of concerned officers at the critical stages of formulation/implementation of a Citizens’ Charter in an organisation severely destabilised the strategic processes which were put in place and hampered the progress of the initiative.
Awareness campaign to teach the client about Charter is not conducted properly.
There are cases where standard or norms of the services mentioned in the Charter are either too negligent or too tight and are impractical.
The notion behind the Citizens’ Charter is not accurately understood. Information brochures, publicity materials, pamphlets produced earlier by the organisations are mistaken for Citizens’ Charters.
Various effective measures that can be taken to deal with the above hurdles are:
The department should guard against the tendency to promise more than they can deliver. A realistic assessment of quality and standard of service delivery is needed.
Proper training and sensitisation programme among staff are needed. Implementing the Charters without the staff owning them will defeat the purpose of the Charter.
Consultation exercise is a must to ensure bottom up approach in its implementation.
Easy grievance redress system and time bound deliver act is needed.
Independent audit of results is important after a period of implementation of the Charter.
To summarise, A Citizens’ Charter denotes the promise of an organisation towards standard, quality and time frame of service delivery, grievance redressal mechanism, clearness and accountability.
Briefly discuss about the code of ethics and the code of conduct.
Differentiate between the given terms.
Substantiate your answer with relevant examples.
Code of ethics and code of conduct specify the ethical standards that a group (e.g., staff or a professional group) should follow in order to continue as a member of the group. They are generally formally stated and members are required to accept them as part of their membership of the group while accepting employment/membership. It is generally adopted by organizations to assist members in developing an understanding of right and wrong. Thus, the Code is built on three levels namely:
Values and ethical standards
Principles based on these values and ethics (Code of Ethics)
Code of Behaviour which is based on professional ethics (Code of Conduct)
Difference between the code of ethics and the code of conduct:
Code of ethics:
Code of Ethics refers to a set of guidelines to bring about acceptable behaviours in members of a particular group, association or profession.
It is essential to build professional standards by ensuring ethical practices are followed. It boosts confidence in the organization in the public eye.
The Code stands for fundamental values and principles of public service. It sets out general principles that guide behaviour.
The codes focus on broader issues and are often framed as a belief statement regarding the organization’s mission, its values and expectations for its members.
These codes are idealistic, non-punishable, general and implicit. Eg. Helping the needy, respecting co-workers, avoiding conflict of interest etc.
Code of conduct:
It refers to a framework for public officials for carrying out their duties.
It serves as a tool for public officials in making right decisions especially in cases when they are tempted or confused in keeping the public interest.
These are designed to prevent certain types of behaviours like conflict of interest, self-dealing, bribery and inappropriate actions. It is essential to protect the employees and the reputation of the organization.
It sets out specific rules designed to outline specific practices and behaviours that are to be encouraged or prohibited under an organization.
The codes lay out guidelines and procedures to be used to determine whether violations of the code have occurred and delineate consequences for such violations.
These are in form of Dos and Don’ts for all employees of the organization and are usually supplemented with a Code of Ethics.
These codes are specific, and explicit and often amount to punishment upon violation. Eg. Model Code of Conduct by Election Commission, not divulging internal company matters to the media, following the orders of seniors etc.
The Code can have a legislative or administrative basis and are in line with constitutional conventions. It is thus regularly updated.
Thus, although both the Codes are different from each other, yet they are important for a public servant. The Codes make sure that the public official should uphold public interest over any personal motive or interest.
Explain the meaning of climate forcing and related phenomenon with relevant examples.
Discuss various natural and anthropogenic causes of climate change.
Conclude the answer, as per the context.
Any external factor that originates from outside the climate system and can become a cause of climate change is called Climate Forcing. These factors are specifically known as forcings because they drive the climate to change. There are natural forcings and man-made forcings. For examples:
Surface reflectivity (Albedo).
Human-caused, or anthropogenic climate forcing include emissions of heat-trapping gases (also known as greenhouse gases) and changes in land use that make land reflect more or less sunlight energy.
Atmospheric aerosols due to human activity or volcanic eruption etc. that put light-reflecting particles into the upper atmosphere.
The peculiar feature of all climate forcing is that they influence the balance of the energy entering and leaving the Earth system i.e, the amount of energy we receive from the sun, and the amount of energy we radiate back into space. Climate change refers to the change of climate that alters the composition of the global atmosphere. It is usually measured in major shifts in temperature, rainfall, snow, and wind patterns lasting decades or more.
The causes of climate change can be classified into two types; natural and anthropogenic.
Solar Irradiance: The change in energy output of the sun brings changes in climate. Solar output varies according to the 11 year solar cycle.
Volcanic Eruptions: When volcanoes erupt, thousands of tons of sulfur dioxide is released into the atmosphere which cause cooling and warming of the earth respectively.
Plate tectonics: Tectonic plates rearrange the topography of the earth which brings changes in the circulation of oceans and subsequently changes the patterns of the global climate.
Variations in the Earth’s Orbit: Variations in the orbit of the planet bring changes in seasonal and geographical distribution of the light from the sun that affects the global climate.
Emission of Greenhouse Gases: Release of greenhouse gases like Carbon dioxide is one of the main reasons for climate change. For example, human activities such as deforestation, burning of fossil fuels, surface mining, agriculture, emissions from industries etc. are also releasing other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
Land Use Change: Climate change is also assisted by changes in land use and land cover that are caused because of human activities such as agriculture.
Many of these factors are interrelated, and atmospheric, ocean and land interactions can involve complex feedback mechanisms can either enhance or dampen changes to the climate system.
Briefly write about the constitutional process of formation of Legislative Council.
Discuss both the arguments: favour and against the existence of Legislative council.
Write the final conclusion mentioning what should be the way forward.
Legislative councils of state are created under Article 169 of the Constitution. Parliament may by law create or abolish the second chamber in a state if the Legislative Assembly of that state passes a resolution to that effect by a special majority.
There is enormous debate on the relevance of Legislative councils in the States. In the recent times, Odisha government is planning to create legislative council or upper house.
Arguments in support of Legislative Councils in the States:
It provides a forum for academicians and intellectuals, who are arguably not suited for the rough and tumble of electoral politics.
It provides a mechanism for a soberer and more considered appraisal of legislation that a State may pass.
It acts as a check on hasty actions by the popularly elected House.
Arguments against Legislative Councils in the States:
Rather than fulfilling the lofty objective of getting intellectuals into the legislature, the forum is likely to be used to accommodate party functionaries who fail to get elected.
Today, legislatures draw their talent both from the grassroots level and the higher echelons of learning. There are enough numbers of doctors, teachers and other professionals in most political parties today.
If there was any real benefit in having a Legislative Council, all States in the country should, and arguably would have a second chamber. The fact that there are only seven such Councils suggests the lack of any real advantage.
It is also an unnecessary drain on the exchequer.
Looking into both the sides of the arguments, there is a need of a National Policy on having Upper House in State Legislatures. Odisha’s proposal may give the country at large an opportunity to evolve a national consensus on Legislative Councils.
There is a need for wide range of debates and public and intellectual opinion to have an Upper House in all state legislatures. Legislative councils should be strengthen so that it can play its effective role in formulating the policies and programmes for the development of states.
Brief introduction about suburbanisation phenomenon in most urbanising countries.
Enumerating the reasons why it is occurring at a relatively early stage of India’s urban development.
Highlight the challenges it is creating for Indian cities and suggest ways forward.
A 2013 World Bank report, “Urbanization beyond Municipal Boundaries”, found that suburban areas (or Suburbs) are generating higher economic growth and employment than the city. Although “suburbanization” is a worldwide phenomenon, it usually occurs in middle to advanced stages of development. In India, it’s happening much more quickly in India than expected.
Inadequacy of cities to provide affordable and quality options has resulted in suburbanization.
Suburbs are seen as safer and cheaper place to live and raise a family due to lower population density, lower crime, and a more stable population.
Increasing land prices and office rents have pushed companies to suburban areas.
With increased incomes, people have the ability to pay more to travel and commute longer distances to work and back home.
Indian cities impose quite draconian land use regulations, rent control system and building height restrictions on their cities lead to excessive suburbanization.
Suburban municipalities can offer tax breaks and regulatory incentives to attract
industrial land users to their area.
The development of robust and sophisticated infrastructure is possible only in the peripheries of the city where land is available in plenty and the cost of acquisition is low.
Growth of urban agglomerations poses many economic, ecological and institutional
challenges which are as follows:
Access to – and the quality of – water, sanitation, and electricity is much worse in the urban periphery than at the core.
Access to quality and affordable health and education services.
With commercialization of agricultural land and encroachment on forest , the areas ecosystem of the region is threatened.
Unplanned urbanisation and uncontrolled encroachment of natural water storage and drainage systems has spelt disaster.
Proponents of containing suburbanization argue that it leads to urban decay and a concentration of lower income residents in the inner city.
Solution to the woes of our cities requires a holistic approach to urban reform.
Steps are required to address the lacunae in the current rural-urban categorization system.
Provide efficient services and reform governance structures to boost overall economic development.
India requires robust institutional mechanism to govern land use conversion and land valuation.
The efforts to leverage the potential of land markets as a financing tool needs to be complemented by an integrated urban planning process.
Indian cities also need to improve connectivity between metropolitan cores and peripheries to ensure ease of mobility for individuals and business.
Third and fifth five year plans advised urban planning to adopt regional approach and to create metropolitan planning regions to take care of the growing areas outside administrative city limits. We need to improve existing urban amenities while simultaneously addressing the problems of suburban sprawl.